On Friday, October 30, 2020, the CDC announced it was letting the No Sail Order expire and released what they call a “Framework for resuming safe and responsible cruise ship passenger operations.” For an industry that has been on hold since mid-March, it’s easy to see why cruise lines, travel agents, and consumers have been celebrating.
However, thinking the announcement means cruises will resume in a couple weeks is the equivalent of going on a blind date Friday and having a bachelor or bachelorette party the next night; a team doing a touchdown dance on the first play from scrimmage of the game — from the opposing teams 1 yard line; or having a gender reveal party before having… Well, you get the idea.
Yes. This announcement is a good thing and a good first step toward being back on a cruise ship. Having a detailed plan and specific hoops that need to be jumped through is encouraging, but the idea that this news means we’ll be celebrating the holidays on a cruise is wishful thinking.
Within the “framework” released by the CDC are steps like:
- Implement technology and processes to ensure safety
- Return crew to ship and keep them healthy
- Test cruises to track safety measures and protocols on volunteer guests
- Track results
- Apply for certification
Certainly, the cruise lines have been working with government agencies and discussing ideas and finding solutions to ensure a safe return to cruising so they’re not starting from square one. Yet it’s difficult to imagine everything going perfectly to plan especially with the limitations and accuracy of testing and the recent rise of Covid cases both in the United States and abroad.
All this announcement does for me personally is to change the language of a previously announced desire of the CDC to keep cruises paused through February 2021. The no sail order may seem like the cruise ban has been lifted, but I believe by the time all these steps are taken, and guests are invited back on board, it will be February 2021.
Even with all this information, I still believe cruising will return relatively soon and continue to be a safe way to see the world. Even though it will look much different than it did before the pandemic, the cruise lines have all made changes to their cancelation policies and are offering strong incentives to book a cruise for 2021.
If you’d like unbiased information, advice, and assistance with your next vacation, I’m here to help. Call 844-483-6669.